Thursday, March 05, 2009

Is Icelandic Elf-belief properly basic

Yes! I'm an equal opportunity Reformed epistemologist.


Jimmy said...

I'd say that Elf-belief is not among one's sets of beliefs that can be classified as properly basic. The assumption in this case (of Elf-belief being properly basic) seems to be that it is mere belief itself that orders what beliefs are basic and which beliefs are derived from other, more fundamental, beliefs. Could not the theist argue that, in addition to belief in God not being derived from other beliefs, that there is a kind of Sensus Divinitatis at play here and that belief in God is grounded in religious experiential affairs itself while Elfism does not share that kind of justification? Maybe I am playing on an apples and oranges scenario here, but I don't think it is mere belief (even a majority belief) that qualifies a belief as basic. But who knows? I have been drinking a few and I am not sure if what I am saying makes much sense. I think about this some more.

John W. Loftus said...

The more I hear about this extremely queer argument the more I'm inclined to think with Dr. David Eller that believing and knowing are two separate things. It merely requires a change in nomenclature and I'm not yet convinced he's right. It's just that there is no comparison to the belief in the Christian God as properly basic with our knowledge that the past happened. By my lights I see the belief in Elves and the belief in the Christian God as resting on the same foundations--culturally adopted ignorant and delusional beliefs which have no place among intelligent and highly educated scientifically people.

The fact that I have been treating Christian beliefs respectfully in the past does not mean I ever thought differently about them or of the people who hold to them. Reppert, you are ignorant. Sorry, but that’s what I honestly think. Maybe by my saying this it will make you pause. Just become an anthropologist, psychologist, scientist, a real Biblical scholar, or an archaeologist and it’ll help you appreciate what I’m saying. Yes, there conservative believers in those fields, I know, but the ratio of conservative believers to liberals and non-believers is much much less than among the people who are very knowledgeable in these fields (and Biblical scholars started out being conservative). I know why this is so, so you'll have to guess why. Philosophers of religion like yourself, Plantinga, and Swinburne are merely accepting the results of shoddy conservative biblical scholarship and then seeking ways to defend those results without being Biblical scholars or archaeologists yourselves, like Hector Avalos, William Dever, Bart Ehrman and so many others to know the difference. And anthropology is, well, the clincher, or is it psychology, or paleontology, or geology, or astronomy, or any one of a number of other disciplines of learning?

I've learned a great deal while Blogging these few years. Just like flat earthers are simply ignorant so also are believers. But there's more to it, since being ignorant doesn't exactly describe such a person. Believers are blinded by their passions because they have been brainwashed by their culture. Our culturally inherited beliefs are what we use to “see” with. These inherited beliefs are much like our very eyes themselves, so it’s extremely difficult to examine that which we use to see with. We cannot easily pluck out our eyes to look at them since we use our eyes to see. But we must do this if we truly want to examine that which we were taught to believe. It’s a simple fact that brainwashed people do not know they have been brainwashed!

And there is no parity with an atheist here, so don't say "you too." For the real debate is NOT WITH ATHEISM AT ALL! The real debate is between the Christianities of the past and today and also between the myriad of Christianities in today’s world. Then this debate kicks into high gear between the myriad of religions themselves. An atheist is someone who simply doesn't think that a particular religion has made its claims. I came by my atheism as the result of a process of elimination, as most atheists have done. Christians are on that same road too. They just have not seen that the same kinds of requirements they demand of other Christianities which they reject and of other religions they reject also apply to their own beliefs.

As I’ve said before, I think I have solved the Christian puzzle.

Jason Pratt said...

{{The fact that I have been treating Christian beliefs respectfully in the past does not mean I ever thought differently about them or of the people who hold to them.}}

When exactly did that occur...?!

Obviously it was a brief phase you've gotten over (again). {g} Must have happened while I was away. Alas, respectful Loftus, we hardly knew you...

That being said, I agree that neither belief in elves nor in the Christian God can possibly be properly basic, unless maybe in the sense that raw assertions may be properly basic beliefs. Which I also doubt.

On the contrary, either belief is instead a result of inferences from data, be those inferences valid or invalid, deductive or inductive (or abductive), based on accurate or faulty data, helped by another rational entity or not. There might (maybe) be such a thing as a directly perceived sensory knowledge of 'the divine' per se, but that's hardly the same as having direct knowledge that orthodox trinitarian theism (for example) is true.

The real value of Plantinga's work, is in arguing that people have a right to believe what they believe even if they aren't technical specialists. That I can readily agree with (including when the people involved aren't Christians.)


(PS: you, too. {g!} Despite your attempt at excluding "atheism" from your expedient universal solvency by fiat, it is entirely possible to be self-critical about one's beliefs and still hold those beliefs. Otherwise, children who grow up indoctrinated in an atheistic environment would be obligated to become theists of some kind after examining and rejecting their cultural indoctrination. Or, similarly, unless you're saying you aren't self-critical about your own beliefs as an atheist, and have no intention of ever being a critical thinker about your own beliefs, such as they are; then I would have to charitably suppose you yourself are self-critical about the beliefs you continue to hold and profess--without ditching those beliefs simply because they may be reinforced by your own cultural environment.)

Gordon Knight said...

Hello Jimmy,

I don't see why there cannot be a sensus Elfititus, that is at play with respect to elfish belief.

John Loftus: You probably do this elsewhere, but you should address the philosophical arguments for theism. A priori reasoning gets way too short a shift in these dark days.

I am pretty liberal theologically (compared to people on this blog, not compared to the Jesus Seminar)
But there is a non-sequitor that is involved in many liberal religious as well as atheistic notions; "how can we believe in miracles in the age of science" Bultmann said. But advances in science and technology are irrelevant to the truth or falsity of miracle claims (and if electricity was relevant, then so too would the invention of the wheel.)

dvd said...

I don't think this is a good parallel. Most people, who believe in God or something like God, believe in the entity as an answer to the Big Questions or something that has been passed down to them that they also feel is true and answers those questions, which they have no way of expressing but feel there is a larger explanation for ones own existence, the world around them etc. They offer no argument for this being only that they hold that the being is true, because the being appeals to their "inner sense" of what is true.

The Icelandic Elf belief is not like that.

They key I believe and the difference is that one often believes in God or something like God that explains why they exist.

John W. Loftus said...

Pratt said: The real value of Plantinga's work, is in arguing that people have a right to believe what they believe even if they aren't technical specialists. That I can readily agree with (including when the people involved aren't Christians.)

Well, non-experts cannot do otherwise can they? It's the experts who drive the thought life of a culture. So we don't even need Plantinga to say this. I just did. The problem is that western culture is built upon many superstitious beliefs of the past, like most other cultures. Our experts must get it right. But they too are brainwashed. It's taking centuries, but maybe we'll get there yet.

Pratt said: (PS: you, too. {g!}

What's {g!} mean along with all of the other symbols that make it hard for me to read what you write? You need to write without them. I makes you appear on the level of some High Schooler, but that's just my opinion.

I am very self-critical of my atheism. It was not culturally inherited, so that's a plus. I came to it by reading liberal Christian authors, not atheists, anyway, although I did read a few atheist authors. It was the result of the process of elimination. And I am an agnostic atheist. For you to be self-critical you would need to be an agnostic theist. Are you?

As far as my being disrespectful goes, I demand that you provide evidence for this. You cannot find it. Period. So get off this horse of yours. I treat respectful people respectfully until I am treated with disrespect. If you find some link that you think shows otherwise then you need to back up and see the history I've had with said person. I've never thrown the first volley. Even when railed against it sometimes takes a few times before I respond in kind, although not always, depending on who it is who throws that first volley and what I had expected from him.

And Gordon, I have addressed the most important theistic arguments in my book.

dvd said...

John Loftus

And the experts right now are toying with theories that the Universe is a simulation, that the past might not even be real, that the universe is dependent upon our observation. That is where the wacky world of the Quantum comes in. Is that rational?

John W. Loftus said...

I suppose you think these things support your Christian faith, correct? Uhmm, Okay. Brainwashed people can make everything fit with their preconceived notions, and Christianity like a chameleon has changed and continues to change with the advancement of learning no matter how different it is today when compared to any time in the past.

philip m said...

Um . . . I think there was an important moment in this thread, and I would like to say - for the record - that I am a fan of the JPratt's symbols. My vote is for keeping them.

Jimmy said...

Hi Gordon Knight! You said:

I don't see why there cannot be a sensus Elfititus, that is at play with respect to elfish belief.

I suppose someone could attempt to draw that distinction but I am not sure how successful it would be. Belief in God enjoys a kind of experiential state of affairs that elfism does not seem to have. Elf-belief is isolated to a specific culture with a history impacted by such odd beliefs. I understand this leaves the theist open to the same criticism (that culture has some causal role in our beliefs), but religious belief in general appears to be more universal in that it extends -- from an epistemic point of view -- beyond culture happenings whereas Elf-belief does not. I agree that belief in elves is something privy to the believer's own mental apparitions, but I'd question the standards being drawn to conclude that their belief is "properly" basic.

dvd said...

John Loftus

If belief and knowing are different, what do you do with the ideas that are being currently looked at in which the universe might be a simulation or that reality/universe out there is dependent on our observation. See, Linde for that.

Perezoso said...

Had y'all understood Hume's point on the uniformity of experience as precluding strange, supernatural, or occult phenomena, there would be no need to tabulate the reports of every gnome in Iceland for their "elf-beliefs," anymore than we should tabulate all the reports of mormons in Utah to determine the truth of Moroni-ism.

When one sees a live elf (ie, not one at Disneyland, etc., or a sword and sorcery flick), then one revises the null setting for miracles, supernatural, etc.

That said, elves are hardly as bizarre as say a hot Harlot ridin' a 7 headed Beast ala the Book of Revelation, quoted by hundreds if not thousands each sunday across the xtian warehouses of USA.

John W. Loftus said...

dvd, you did understand what I wrote, didn't you? Read Ellers book if you're interested.

dvd said...

John loftus

Just so that I understand your position.

If in the future the theories that the Universe is indeed a simulation or that the Universe is actually dependent on our observation, pan out and become accepted Science;

do you then argue that people negating this would be irrational?

Or would a Solipsism then become more "rational?"?

would the difference on "knowing" and "believing" still hold?

Perezoso said...

The simulation idea is a minority and eccentric (if not quack) position; Chalmers, the Zombie guy, put that forth, I believe.

Perhaps review some Bricmont on the uses and misuses of quantum mechanics, bruthhrs. A very few instances of apparent indeterminism do not suffice to show either the possibility of miracles or immaterialism (indeterminism at subatomic levels is mostly negligible given the Uncertainty Principle).

Where's the indeterminism involved with the space Shuttle reentering the atmosphere? (not to say meteors, etc), or planetary motion itself? If quantum indeterminism was a significant factor at a macro level, humans would not operate planes, trains, space shuttles, or build bridges for that matter. Unpredictability is not the same as randomness, either (another Bricmontian point, if not LaPlacean). A big hurricane may have been unpredictable, but not random, and not un-determined.

Doc Reppert's points contra-Hume generally beg the question of indeterminism (at least the extent of in-det.). VR also seems to reintroduce God at times, when that's what the discussion concerns: in other words, Hume suggests the dogma claiming God exists is unreliable because of the supernatural events (which do not conform the uniformity of experience); therefore we cannot sneak the biblical God into our arguments--that's what's being addressed. (I will attempt to work up more formal criticism).

exapologist said...

I agree with Gordon about the epistemic possibility of an elvish analogue of the sensus divinitatis. But in any case, according to Plantinga, not all properly basic beliefs need be grounded in a sensus divinitatis (e.g., properly basic perceptual, memorial, and introspective beliefs needn't be grounded in an s.d.).

Also, according to Plantinga, properly basic beliefs need not be grounded in an experience that involves a special phenomenology that has a close affinity with the thing believed. Rather, all one needs is a set of triggering-conditions that serve as the grounds for the belief(s).

Blip said...

Loftus, ya loon! Stop harping on about that blinking book of yours! I can tell it's awful just by reading your comments.


Isn't it common for properly basic beliefs as they apply to God to be importantly linked to religious experience? If so, the Elf case would be relevantly different.

Blip said...


Just read your comment!

Perezoso said...

A Woman rides the Beast! Proper calvinist belief.

Gordon Knight said...


You can try to make those moves, but i doubt they work in the end. The whole point of this "basic belief" stuff, if I understand it, is to get the idea that one can be justified in believing in God without evidence or reasons (though i think reformed epistemologists agree that the belief is defeasible, there could be evidence to make one rationally give up that belief). So once you bring in other considerations it sometimes looks like you are bringing in evidence of some sort..

and the thing is Christianity is large now, but was not in the beginning, and of course judaism was limited to a small piece of real estate in the middle east.

I can imagine an Reformed Pagan philosopher saying belief in pagan god is properly basic, but not the weird ass Jewish monotheistic God (which is localized in a small area, and so eccentric a belief--who wants to worship just ONE God?)

Jimmy said...

Hello again, Gordon! You said:

You can try to make those moves, but i doubt they work in the end. The whole point of this "basic belief" stuff, if I understand it, is to get the idea that one can be justified in believing in God without evidence or reasons...So once you bring in other considerations it sometimes looks like you are bringing in evidence of some sort...

Proper basicality has been defined in various ways, but I am not sure that any views regarding basic beliefs define basicality in terms of belief(s) that reward themselves with some type of justification apart from reasons. It may be better to say that our ideas of a properly basic belief is one in which our belief(s) is justified without an appeal to prior beliefs and that these basic beliefs do not first need to be proved to be rationally held. They can still afford themselves evidence or reasons for having them. For example, we may very well have good reason to hold basic beliefs, e.g. certain introspective states are said to be properly basic, yet, the evidentialist for example, would say that we have good reasons and/or evidence for our beliefs (And perhaps the reliabilist, if he believes in any kind of basicality, may hold that our basic beliefs are justified via reliable cognitive equipment). Basic beliefs do not entail that there are no reasons/evidence for them, they only, in a strict sense, entail that they are beliefs that are not derived from other beliefs.

You are of course correct to say that Reformed epistemologists allow for the possibility of false beliefs, i.e. they are not indefeasible. But my point here is that the theist could appeal to the Sensus Divinitatis in this case and be perfectly justified in doing so given their epistemic standards. I am not sure that Elf-belief can lay claim to the same sort of thing.

Do Elf-believers claim to have inward and symmetrical experiences with elves, or are they merely a part of the makeup of our universe in which we interact with them in some way? I agree with what exapologist said concerning basic beliefs but what, exactly, determines that elf-belief is properly basic?

exapologist said...

Hi Jimmy,

Hmm. Couldn't they say the same sort of things Plantinga has said? Thus, Plantinga says belief in God is triggered under a motley variety of circumstances (e.g., looking at the starry heavens triggers the belief, "God made all this"; reading a Bible passage triggers the belief, "God disaproves of what I've done"; an eight-year-old's belief in God is triggered by living in a community of people who talk and act as though Christianity is true; etc.)

Similarly, an Icelander's elf belief could be triggered in a variety of circumstances (e.g., while working on a road in a patch of countryside, your tractor breaks unexpectedly. It triggers the belief, "The elves disapprove of what I'm doing"; a young Icelander is raised in a community of people who talk and act as though elves exist, and this triggers their elf belief; walking through the foggy hillside, it triggers the belief, "I'm in elf territory"; an elf-medium (no, really, there are such things) comes over to inspect your backyard and make peace with the elves before you tear out a big rock and replace it with a jacuzzi. The experience triggers the belief, "The elves are now at peace with me", etc.).

Perezoso said...

Perhaps a proper Moroni-belief? Like when in Utah, around some BYU students, discussing zee Golden Plates, or King Brigham, or the sublime visions of Joseph Smith. Properly basic in Loyola: like joining sus hermanas on a journey to see Holy Maria in some eastside parking lot? Hay Esta!

Or proper Hagee belief: visions of Jeezuss brought about by hearing the Holy Fat-man shout war prayers from the Book of Revelation, and his love for Zion, etc.

(really, Proper basically sounds a bit similar to like a fancy Notre Dame style bandwagon argument).

Victor Reppert said...

By the way, what is wrong with believing in elves? Really. Come to think of it, I don't see why we should be so dismissive so quickly. Doesn't seem obviously in conflict with the Christian world-view, though I suppose it might be a little tough to reconcile with naturalism.

Jason Pratt said...


Keeping in mind, I’m extremely far from defending (much less even accepting) that a belief in God is properly basic: the motley circumstances you presented as examples are, for the most part (with partial exceptions, sort of, that I’ll mention later) clearly dependent on the believer operating within “a special phenomenology that has a close affinity with the thing believed”.

Even an unbeliever reading the Bible and then coming to a belief that ‘God thinks I’m doing something wrong’, is doing so within a topical framework that has a close affinity with the thing believed. (Unless I’m completely misunderstanding “phenomenology”, perhaps...?) The unbeliever need not even believe God exists to have a belief while reading the Bible that ‘this deity would consider x-actions of mine to be a sin’. That belief would most likely be an inference from the contextual data of the material, though. It wouldn’t itself be a properly basic belief, and the data material wouldn’t (in themselves) even count as a ‘belief’ for a believer. (I may agree with something written in the Bible--I could agree with quite a lot of it and be a rank atheistic naturalist!--but that doesn’t mean that the Biblical data is itself my belief, properly basic or otherwise.)


{{I am not sure that any views regarding basic beliefs define basicality in terms of belief(s) that reward themselves with some type of justification apart from reasons. It may be better to say that our ideas of a properly basic belief is one in which our belief(s) is justified without an appeal to prior beliefs and that these basic beliefs do not first need to be proved to be rationally held. They can still afford themselves evidence or reasons for having them.}}

I understand that a properly basic belief could also be arrived at by means of rational analysis, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be arrived at by means of rational analysis, whether the analysis is deductive proof or inductive likelihood estimation.

To say that a belief can be rational without having to be deductively certain, is simply to say that a belief can be rationally arrived at (as a likelihood estimation) by induction/abduction instead. That doesn’t make the belief a properly basic one.

Or, if we’re talking about rationality in the sense of active contribution by the person in creating the belief, instead of merely reacting and counterreacting to environmental stimuli (internal and/or external), then even a raw assertion can be properly rational in that sense (assuming a raw assertion can be a belief at all, which I doubt), without needing a deductive or inductive analytical process.

A properly basic belief has to be something fundamentally simple in order to count as not having reference to prior beliefs. And I honestly don’t know that such a thing would count as a belief so much as an impression to be believed about: a piece of data ready to be used and chewed over (analogically speaking) through reasoning. (Whether the person can formally describe the reasoning, or is validly competent at the reasoning, is irrelevant.)

Which leads back to Exap’s motley crew of examples. The only one that might count as a clear example of a properly basic belief in God being triggered by circumstances, would be if the person looking up at the kosmos (which means “artistic decoration”, of course {g}) starts with no idea about artistic decoration even by human creators, and suddenly receives the triggered impression (which would be irrational as far as it goes) “a maker made this!--what the heck is a maker?!” The impression, in this case, would be a latent piece of psychological data which the human started off instinctively in possession of but was never consciously aware of and so never thought about; and which, now that it has been brought forth to conscious perception, the human is trying to rationally think about (and not succeeding very well, due to the absolute lack of context necessary to clearly illustrate this as being a properly basic belief.)

The other examples might involve triggering a latently unconscious fundamentally simple impression that x-exists (though I’m not sure what fundamentally simple impression that would be in regard to an elf), but they’re presented in a contextual fashion where the person already has been having exposure to the idea. The latently unconscious fundamentally simple impression might also be occuring--indeed, it would be surprising if it wasn’t occuring in these circumstances (if it exists in the first place)--but that impression would be irrelevant because matters have already progressed (in some cases much further) beyond that primary initial stage.

(I would grant that the result of the tractor-breaking example might count as a triggering of a properly basic belief, if it involved the person suddenly receiving an impression, not even subconsciously inferred by habit from comparison with past experience, that “something that can be displeased is displeased with me”. But that would be all the person could subsequently rationalize about; anything more would be built on or from or around or about the data of that impression in combination with other data. Unless “elf” can merely mean “something that can be displeased”, the belief that this is about an “elf” wouldn’t seem tenable as being properly basic. Ditto, I’ll grant, with the same qualifications, to the impression: “something lives in foggy hills”.)

Victor: have you been railing at John protractedly while I’ve been gone?! You ought to know that this will only provoke him into treating you disrespectfully! tsk.



Jason Pratt said...


First, the more serious topic:

{{So we don't even need Plantinga to say this. I just did.}}

True, but as I’m sure you’re aware (though other readers here may not be), some of those specialists had gotten into a habit of trying to discredit the rationality of beliefs of non-specialists mainly on the ground of the non-specialists being non-specialists (and so unable to formulate their reasoning as precisely as the specialists might be expected to do.) Plantinga was, among other things, trying to address this specialist critique, with a goal of exhorting specialists to respect the epistemic status of non-specialists (instead of simply dismissing them as “brainwashed” or something of that sort.)

I don’t agree with Plantinga’s procedure on this, in several ways. But I do agree with at least some of the goals; which is why, incidentally, I try not to simply dismiss opponents (whether specialists or non-specialists) on the ground that they’ve been brainwashed by secular enculturalization (for example).

Obviously, there are still some people who need Plantinga to say that specialists shouldn’t dismiss non-specialists (or even other specialists) on the ground that, for example, they’ve only been brainwashed by enculturalization. But I’m glad (or at least interested) to hear that you don’t need Plantinga to say it.

(To which I would append an emoticon, but I don’t want to confuse you by including something which you have no idea what it means but are nevertheless sure somehow that it must be something a high-schooler would do. Sidenote to Exapologist: that would be an example of a properly basic belief!)

{{I am very self-critical of my atheism.}}

Glad to hear it! So I would be wrong to assume, or even infer, that you are only brainwashed by your participation in your own current culture. (Which is why I have never once made that assumption or inference.) You can in fact self-critically hold to your beliefs in a proper fashion, so I shouldn’t dismiss your beliefs on the ground of reactive conformity to your current environment.

{{For you to be self-critical you would need to be an agnostic theist. Are you?}}

Actually, I’m agnostic about quite a few things, including within my beliefs. But I would also consider my agnosticism on some topics to be beside the point: I consider self-criticism to be a process, not a result. I don’t consider your non-agnostic beliefs to be intrinsically non-self-critical for being non-agnostic. Do you? If so, then you’ll have to qualify every truth-claim you profess (regardless of the topic) to be only non-critical. Although for what it’s worth I would still consider some of your truth-claim beliefs to have been critically reached (even if I disagreed with their accuracy): by “a process of elimination”, for example, instead of something like being cumulatively brainwashed by your new environment of liberal Christian authors and a few atheists.

On less serious matters:

{{If you find some link that you think shows otherwise then you need to back up and see the history I've had with said person.}}

Well, let’s see, after I had treated you respectfully here at DangIdea (even taking your side against Steve Lovell) and over at the Christian Cadre, and had even written a rather large article predicated on the epistemic importance of treating you respectfully, you proceeded to ignore an important “not” in the middle of a simple seven word sentence in the title of the article--with predictable results.

Which I had promised sometime earlier, here at DangIdea, I wouldn’t mention again--but since you asked for it... There are links to previous stages of that discussion in the linked post, btw, for contextual purposes. Which have to do with you refusing to take religious beliefs seriously as anything other than knee-jerk reaction to environmental stimuli; even in the case of at least one previous atheist, in that previous discussion, who grew up in an atheistic environment and had converted to Christianity. You can hardly claim I was being disrespectful of you first, since my whole point was and remained that it was important (quite literally for sake of argument per se) to respect oppositional beliefs rather than dismissing them as being non-rational fluff.

Anyway, since you didn’t explain in your disrespect of Victor (or in your explanation of when you disrespect people) that Victor had been railing protractedly at you recently, perhaps it would help to give us links for contextual purposes so that we can back up and see the history that Victor has had with you, thus explaining your disrespectful treatment of him at the beginning of this thread.

(I had understood your calling Victor “simply ignorant” on the same scale as “flat earthers”, “blinded by [his] passions”, “brainwashed”, and wildly inept in other various ways, to be grounded in your philosophical beliefs as a matter of principle, or as an inference from data, or some other rationale of that sort. Not as an emotional reaction to Victor railing at you protractedly. I am sorry to hear that this has happened, if so; but, as I said, I’ve been gone for a while so I’m not up to speed on Victor’s various social failings as a host or guest.)

However, let us consider the actual quote from you that I had replied to, which was: {{The fact that I have been treating Christian beliefs respectfully in the past does not mean I ever thought differently about them [i.e. Christian beliefs] or of the people who hold to [Christian beliefs].}}

My reply was to this; and my somewhat ironic quip was directed at this. Namely, I do not recall any time when you went from treating Christian beliefs (broadly speaking) disrespectfully, to treating Christian beliefs (broadly speaking) respectfully, and then from that point back now to treating Christian beliefs disrespectfully. (As brainwashing, ignorant as flat earther beliefs, etc. Unless you think that this is being respectful of Christian beliefs, though if so I missed that implication. Sorry.)

I did, however, qualify that this process (from disrespect to respect and then back to disrespect, which is implied in your own description that I had quoted) might have happened while I was away. Nothing in your comment to Victor indicates this (aside from the piece I quoted); and nothing in your reply to me clarifies (or even indicates) this. But I did grant that it was possible (although by implication I do also find it antecedently unlikely). And I was frankly sorry I had missed your phase of being respectful of Christian beliefs after disrespecting them previously.


Victor Reppert said...

John: I'm going to ask you politely to remove that last comment. I know you are angry with Jason, but honestly, you used an alleged "slight" of your arguments based on my comparison of your arguments to the amputee site as an excuse to take the gloves off and call me ignorant, in spite of several attempts on my part to point out that what I meant by pointing out a similarity. That's not being fair.

You don't see me complaining because you have provided no detailed analysis of CSLDI on your site. I see no evidence that you have made any serious attempt to understand the argument from reason. It's fine for you to say that this is not in your area of expertise.

You're telling me atheists have culturally unconditioned beliefs? Gag me. You tell me that you aren't at all affected by the impulse expressed by Satan in Paradise lost, the non serviam "Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven?" You're telling me that the very idea of someone in charge of the universe who can tell you what to do doesn't bother you at all, if only there were enough evidence? That you atheists are perfect Vulcans, devoted to logical, in a world of irrational humans who believe weird things because of emotion? Give me a break.

Boy, life would be a whole lot easier if I could just spend my life writing anti-religious screed. So many easy targets, so little time.

I have a reputation even amongst people who disagree with me for fairness.

There are many books that I would like to read that I haven't gotten to. I happen to have a heavy teaching schedule. Don't feel slighted John. You're in good company.

John W. Loftus said...

Vic, will you or will you not state for the public record here and now that you have not found me to be a personally offensive person here on your blog of on mine (that is up until now)?

Yes or no?

Victor Reppert said...

As people who post on this site go, nad people who have responded to me on other blogs, you are far from amongst the most offensive. That doesn't mean that there haven't been problems of tone and attitude in the past, but it does mean that your recent conduct has been cause for disappointment on my part.